Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France commemorates a hero of the left

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Diplomatic strain for John Kerry

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Germany and Russia 'discuss secret Ukraine deal'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina set for deeper recession after default

Read more

  • Paris hosts its first pro-Israel rally since start of Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new game plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists as US condemns school shelling

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 crash site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

Africa

Algerian censors block Bouteflika 'coma' reports

© Screen grab

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-21

Algerian authorities have censored two newspapers for printing information about President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s “declining” health. Bouteflika has not been seen since he was admitted to a Paris hospital late April.

For the first time in decades, two Algerian newspapers were censored and blocked from publication by the government on Saturday evening.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, last seen on April 17. © AFP

The francophone daily "Mon journal" (My paper), and its Arabic affiliate "Djaridati" were planning on publishing two pages, including the front, on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s “declining” health, witht the claims that he had returned to Algeria and was in a “comatose” state.

The 76-year-old president was taken to the Val-de-Grâce hospital in Paris for a “minor stroke” late April, and Algerians have not seen or heard from him since, leaving room for speculation.At the time, the stroke raised “no worries,” according to the premier’s office.

In early May, officials made a short statement saying his health was “seriously improving,” and rumours had him resting in Switzerland.

Silence and speculation

ABDELaziz Bouteflika and the Algerian economy

Bouteflika, in power since 1999, was expected to run for a fourth term in office next year. But speculation about his declining health has become a permanent feature in Algerian politics, not least because of the government’s sparing reports on the matter.

“According to my sources -- I personally did not see anything,  but I have my sources, which I cross-check and verify -- the president is in Algeria,” Hichem Aboud, head of both newspapers, told FRANCE 24.

“My sources say that he’s neither in Geneva, Switzerland, nor in the Val-de-Grâce hospital in Paris. He is in Algeria. He arrived at dawn on Wednesday [May 15], after leaving Paris at 3am,” specified the former member of the military who now opposes the regime.

“His health is declining, which is why they transferred him to Algiers,” said Aboud. “The Val-de-Grâce hospital could no longer help. We’ve been told he’s in a deep coma that can go on for days or weeks. That is what we put in those two pages.”

“We refused self-censorship”

The head of “Mon journal” and "Djaridati" added that his sources were both “French medical teams and the Algerian president’s entourage.”

Aboud told the AFP that the two papers were held in the printing room on Saturday night. “The Communication ministry asked us to delete the two pages on president Bouteflika’s health entirely from the edition,” he said.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika's complex relationship with France

“We refused self-censorship,” he continued, explaining that it was “technically impossible to cut two pages out of the 24-page-long papers."

For Aboud, the authority’s attitude confirms the information they had on Bouteflika’s health.

If their claims were “entirely false, the best solution for the authorities would’ve been to publish a statement from the president’s doctors denying the claims,” he said, “or better yet -- show us images of Mr. Bouteflika.”

Bouteflika’s last appearance in public was on April 17, at the funeral of a highly-ranked official.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-05-19

  • ALGERIA

    Algeria's Bouteflika in Paris hospital after minor stroke

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Algeria's Bouteflika sacks head of state energy firm

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Bouteflika promises political reform

    Read more

COMMENT(S)